IF you are struggling with everyday living costs you could get free cash to help cover your water bills.

Most suppliers have a pot of money to dish out to thousands of customers who are under pressure from rising costs- and you don't have to pay it back.

These grants can be worth hundreds of pounds offering a vital lifeline when faced with daunting water bills.

The exact amount you can get depends on where you live and your supplier, as well as your individual circumstances.

For example Severn Trent has given out more than 3,000 grants worth on average £781 and helped nearly 400 households buy essential appliances.

Priority is given to those who have experienced exceptional circumstances, like losing their job, which means they can't pay their bill.

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Meanwhile customers of Thames Water whose long-term circumstances mean they can't afford to buy new essential household goods may be able to get a grant from the Thames Water Trust Fund.

This includes help to buy washing machines, fridges and beds.

Applications are made on a referral basis, with the trust working with local debt advice agencies such as Citizens Advice to identify those who need the support.

Residents in East Anglia can access the Anglian Water Assistance Fund that offers help to those going through extreme circumstances.

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For instance if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, lose a spouse, or are a victim of domestic abuse.

The exact help available depends on your water company, as each has a different scheme.

You can find out who your local water supplier is using the tool on WaterUK – just enter your postcode.

Unlikeother utilities, you can't switch water supplier.

However, similar schemes are available from energy suppliers, for example, British Gas which has given grants of up to £1,000 – and in this case, you don't have to be a customer.

More support

Aside from grants, water companies provide other ways of helping with bills.

Thames Water said it will provide support for 53,000 extra households in the current billing year 2023-24, taking the total helped to 384,000 households.

Customers of England’s largest water company may be able to get a 50% discount on bills if total household income is below £17,005, or below £21,749 in London boroughs.

You could also get help if your water bill is more than 5% of your total household income.

And the water company has also created a temporary support scheme for those who currently have more money going out than coming in, as a result of the rising cost of living.

Under this scheme, customers can get a discount of between 20% and 50%.

Customers of Severn Trent can access its Big Difference Scheme that can take up to 90% off the average customer bill.

The scheme can offer a reduction of water bills to Severn Trent customers with a household income below £20,048.

Many billpayers across the country could also get help paying off water debts through a little-known scheme and even get the balance written off.

Companies match the payments eligible customers make against the debt on their account to help clear it sooner.

If you're on a water meter but find it hard to save water as you have a large family or water-dependent medical condition, you may be able to cap your bills through the WaterSure scheme.

Bills are capped at the average amount for your supplier, so the amount you could save will vary.

The Consumer Council for Water estimates that bills are reduced by £270 on average through the scheme.

Yorkshire Water says its low income customers can save £534 per year on average using WaterSure.

Social tariffs are also an option for those on Universal Credit and you can find out more about who is eligible for both schemes and how to apply in our guide.

Save water, save money

Moving to a water meter along could save you cash depending on how much you use, you can check if it's worth it using the consumer council for water's calculator.

Many water companies offer free water-saving devices that help to cut your usage and bills.

Freebies include shower timers and buffalo bags, which save water with every flush.

Contact your supplier to ask or check out savewatersavemoney.co.uk.

IF you are struggling with more than water bills, there are around 8,000 charities and organisations in the UK that can offer cash to help.

This could be help with food, bills or buying essential white goods like a cooker or washing machine if you don't have the cash to hand.

Turn2Us has a free grants search tool so you can find out what help is available to you.

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If you're worried about falling behind on bills, there are also plenty of organisations where you can get advice for free, including:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060

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